We asked Naomi Coffman to tell us about her fundraiser for My Own Bag. Thanks, Naomi.

Posted January 17th, 2012 in My Own Bag by admin

My name is Naomi Coffman and my mum spent several years working for an adoption agency in Maryland. Growing up, I heard many stories of the circumstances, which devastate the lives of foster children, many of whom are removed from their homes without warning, sometimes in the middle of the night, carrying few or none of their possessions.

When I was seventeen years old, I learned about My Own Bag and was inspired to start a fundraiser at my school, collecting backpacks and suitcases for foster children, so that they can pack their possessions in something more personal than a trash bag. At the time, most of the High School students were preparing for one of our annual High School trips, a process which often includes buying new suitcases. During one of our weekly chapel services, I announced to the High School that I would be collecting any spare suitcases or backpacks for foster children and asked them to contribute. I admit that I was skeptical; suitcases are a larger, more expensive donation and I didn’t expect to receive many. I was pleasantly surprised. In less than a month, I had raised about twenty five cases and assorted bags, many new and all in pristine condition. What surprised me most of all was the interest exhibited by both students and teachers, once they learned more about the foster care system. I was pleased to offer them all an opportunity to contribute to a cause which so many find so worthy.

My Own Bag – CASA of Central Texas

Posted July 27th, 2011 in My Own Bag by admin

July 27, 2011

My Own Bag was featured in the CASA of Central Texas newsletter this month. We thank all CASA’s for the work they do for the Foster Children nationwide.

Volunteer’s Nonprofit Gives Foster Children Suitcases
When an El Paso 15-year-old in foster care learned he was being moved to a new placement, he called his CASA volunteer, Tracy McGinty. McGinty arrived to find the child in his room with a trash bag, into which he was expected to pack his belongings.

“He told me, ‘We feel just like the trash that goes in these bags when they do this,’ ” McGinty said.

McGinty started a nonprofit, My Own Bag , to ensure that children in foster care don’t feel like trash and have real suitcases for their possessions.

My Own Bag has collected and purchased 200 suitcases for foster children in Hays and Travis Counties. The suitcases are distributed through Child Protective Services, CASA of Central Texas and CASA of Travis County, McGinty said.

CASA of Central Texas Community Relations Coordinator Eloise Hudson said some bags were given as graduation gifts to youth served by her program. CASA of Travis County Program Director Key Richardson said the bags arrived just in time for summer vacations, out-of-state visits and placement moves.

What a wonderful gift.

Posted May 10th, 2011 in My Own Bag by admin

May 10, 2011

This is a picture of approximately 185 roller bags in my garage. Eric and Malia White donated the bags through a “lot purchase.” Eric has been a supporter of My Own Bag for quite a while now and he saw an ad one day about returned suitcases. These were roller bags that people returned to stores for various reasons, some damaged and some with no problems at all. Eric negotiated with the man who had bought these in a lot bid. Eric made an offer of $500.00 and got all that the seller had. After a few days of sorting out the damaged bags and repairing some, we ended up with 152 perfect roller bags. The final price per bag worked out to an amazing $3.28. The damaged bags were donated to Goodwill Industries and they said they had the machines and people to do the repairs and sell the rest. All 152 bags have been distributed to Foster Children in Hays and Travis counties through CASA (court appointed special advocates) for foster children and the Texas Department of Family Services. My Own Bag and the Foster Children owe Eric and Malia a great deal of gratitude for their generous donation.

January 28,2011

Posted January 28th, 2011 in My Own Bag by admin

Tracy McGinty did a presentation today at ATT’s offices at 4544 S. Lamar.  Eric White, the supervisor for a training group there, had heard about My Own Bag from Gateway Church.  He mentioned it to his co-workers and they not only wanted to hear more, they immediately wanted to donate roller bags and had 12 bags waiting when Tracy arrived.  After hearing the story of how My Own Bag was inspired and that the children were forced to use trash bags, they wanted to make a difference.  Tracy is to return in a couple of weeks to pick up additional donations from people who wanted to donate but weren’t there that day.  Thank you to the good-hearted people at ATT!
When a child has lost their home . . .

Do they have to lose their dignity too?

My Own Bag is born.

Posted October 20th, 2010 in History, My Own Bag by admin

My Own Bag was formed from a Small Group of Gateway South Church in Austin, TX. The group of twelve 50ish people was throwing out ideas on how to better serve the community around them. Tracy McGinty told them the story of his encounter with one of his CASA children from El Paso, TX. (See the full story under “about us” tab.) The story so moved the members of this group that they decided to collectively launch a non-profit group to solicit donations of roller bags and money to purchase the roller bags. The members starting My Own Bag were: Randy Boyd, Lois DeSimone, Felix & Linda Gooding, Mike & Vicky Weller, Cindy Wendling, John Williams, Neil & Judy Wright, and Tracy & Carol McGinty.

The arduous task of filing for non-profit status with IRS started with Lucynda Wood, an Attorney and friend in Dallas, donating her time to help with the paper work. After that was completed, God took over. The process to get IRS certification is supposed to take minimally, six months. We were certified in less than 90 days. The Texas certification took only two weeks. Steve Prescott of Burnt Orange Branding and Gina Cotton and her students at Bowie High School volunteered logo designs. Cheryl Black has offered her accounting skills in setting up the books and helping us learn the process. David Romero has generously designed this web page for My Own Bag. Each person along the way has been invaluable in sharing their gifts to get this new organization off and running.